Circumvallate Papillae Function, Enlarged Causes, Treatment

Learn Circumvallate Papillae functions, what causes enlarged Circumvallate Papillae and its treatment. The anatomy of Circumvallate papillae (CP) is similar to other types of papillae, but the only difference is that this type of papillae are bigger than other. They are arranged in a V-shaped way at the backside of the tongue near the throat.

Circumvallate Papillae are also termed as “Vallate Papillae” and their numbers are varies from eight to twelve. It’s also possible that they are arranged in two rows and each of them has 1 to 2 mm projection of mucous membrane.

Tongue Examination is a routine physical checking used to diagnose different disease conditions. If you or your physician found anything on your tongue which is new or which appears not normal then it indicates that you have something wrong in your body. For instance, if your tongue is bulky-reddish, tender, and without coating, it indicates that you have a medical condition which is known as pernicious anaemia.

Tongue Swelling with reddishness and tenderness may arise in the tongue due to insufficiency of vitamin B12 or folic acid. Infection with Aspergillus niger is caused by chronic use of Penicillin, and it cause you tongue brownish or blackish with “hairy” growth without having any pain. In macroglossia, tongue becomes elevated.

Normal circumvallate Papillae, if you look at them very closely, they will appear as a short cone and base of the cone is attached with tongue upper surface. At the circular depression, the ducts of lingual salivary glands clear out their serous secretion and act as a moat. This secretion has very important function i.e. to wash out food debris from the circular depression that in turn cause the fresh taste stimuli. The location of circumvallate papillae is on the backside of the tongue and the terminal end of the tongue mainly responsible for the bitter taste. That’s why any unpalatable taste could be there due to presence of circumvallate papillae. Another important reason of their presence is to restrict swallowing of any poisonous substances as they have bad taste.

Circumvallate Papillae Function, Enlarged Causes, Treatment

Circumvallate Papillae Function, Enlarged Causes, Treatment

If you have found a strange v shape bumps at the backend of your tongue and you are worrying about it then keep reading to know more about it.

Circumvallate Papillae Appearance

The circumvallate papillae are the largest papillae on the tongue. Most people have about six to 12 of these large bumps on the back of their tongue, arranged in an inverted v-shape, pointing towards the throat. Normally it is really hard to see them unless you stick your tongue all the way out and examine it in the mirror with good lighting. Like most of the papillae on the tongue, the circumvallate papillae are embedded with taste buds, which can be seen under high magnification.

Circumvallate Papillae Function

As discussed above that they have functions which are important in terms of how we taste. Circumvallate Papillae contains taste buds and the number of taste buds they contain decides the taste for us. Usually number of taste buds are closely associated with the activation of the sensation. In each circumvallate papilla, the number of bitter-responsive taste buds may fall between 250 to 270.

Some children have naturally less number of circumvallate papilla, as a result, they enjoy the salty taste of cheese. Parents are wondering when one kid is eating cheese and saying that it is delicious while the other is complaining about its bitter taste. The reason is not your child problematic behavior but the higher number of bitter taste buds in circumvallate papilla in later. The number of circumvallate papillae and taste buds present on it become decreases with increasing of age or nicotine smoking.

Enlarged Circumvallate Papillae Causes

Following are some causes that results in enlarged cicumvallate papillae incluViral infection:

  • Hot and spicy food
  • Accidental trauma
  • Food allergy
  • Smoking
  • Viral infections
  • Mouth Ulcer due to bacterial growth
  • Consumption of toxic substances
  • Vitamin Deficiency
  • Some medical conditions like ulcerative colitis or gastro esophageal reflex disease (GERD) cause changes in the PH level in whole GI tract that cause enlarged cicumvallate papillae.

Treatment of enlarged papillae

If you have this medical condition then don’t worry, it’s not something that require your attention. Usually the enlargement is self treatable, but if you in any case, want to do something to accelerate the removal of the condition, then below are some remedies that may help to control the pain and may also reduce the enlargement.

  • Yummy one, lick ice creams.
  • Gently rub ice cubes.
  • Drink something cold.
  • Gargle with salty lukewarm water.
  • Take a balance diet with essential vitamins to compensate the vitamin deficiency
  • Adequate water intake
  • Take some kind of antibiotics or antiviral drugs to treat mouth ulcer and viral infection.
  • Different natural oil gurgle preparation such as tea tree oil gurgle, sesame oil gurgle etc.
  • Practice good oral hygiene and periodic visit to dentist.
  • Don’t smoke and avoid hot spicy food.


  1. Aman

    Hello sir,
    I’m suffering from the disease like white coated tongue with back of bumps with stomach pain please help me.. im from india
    About 1 month. Please help me
    Awaiting your reply.

  2. Navi

    Hi..i got circumvallate papillae 4 n now 1more small almost few months no pain n swelling just 2days i feel 1is abit big i feel not comfortable..pls i need a advice to cure…tq

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